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By: Thoriso Lethetsa

Thoriso Lethetsa

Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Steve Jobs. What do they all have in common? They do not have business partners. In writing this article, I am hoping you will consider the negative factors of having business partners before getting into business just like these men did. The first problem is getting into a partnership for an extra capital injection, The second problem is getting into a partnership because you want to reduce workload and lastly,getting into a partnership to bring in extra expertise.

These three problems I have stated look like pros but they have a downside to them. The first problem of entering into a partnership: for the purpose of  increasing your capital injection, is a problem because when someone invests in any business, they want return and they want it fast. So the moment the business starts making money, they insist on distribution of profits and this is detrimental to the business in a sense that the extra money could be used for the growth of the business as the business is still new. The solution to this problem is easy: instead of bringing in a partner, what one can do and what people like Steve Jobs did, was to dispose of some assets. You probably won’t get a lot of money, especially if you are still young and don’t have a lot of assets, but we call this ‘humble beginnings’. So you don’t actually need a partner to start a business because of lack of funds, just look around and make things happen with the resources that you have.

The second problem in getting a partner: that of reducing the workload. It becomes a problem because sometimes you can bring a person who is hard-working but lacks the vision of where you want to take the business. This is detrimental because what the person is working on could destroy what you are building for the company that you started. An example: if your vision is customer satisfaction driven in a sense that you operate for longer hours to accommodate people who work util late and the person is in charge of the floor but complains to customers as to why they come late, this might discourage them not to return to the store of which, in actual sense, means that the business has lost potential customer relationships. What you can do to avoid such problems is, instead of getting a partner you can make a schedule for what you do on a daily basis so that you can eliminate activities which are not beneficial to your growth or you can hire someone who will carry out your vision in your absence.

The last problem: bringing in a partner to have extra expertise is a big problem because the very same people you go into partnership with can expel you from being the chairperson. This is exactly what happened to Steve Jobs when he brought in other people to join his company, Apple. The problem is that as the visionary of the organisation, you make decisions which make sense to you for the long-term but don’t make sense to your partners in the short-term. So when people don’t see what you are talking about, they will try to take you out of power for the sake of their vision. What you can do is to outsource in terms of management functions like Accounting and Marketing. I say this because these are not the businesses main function. An example is that, if you are manufacturing furniture, you can hire a private marketing company to come up with a marketing plan for you, you don’t need to have a partner who has a marketing degree.

Looking at these problems I have listed, it is would be wise to evaluate if you really need a partner. You also need to consider the reasons of getting into a partnership. One simple advise I can give to you is to get into a partnership with GOD because if you look at what GOD did for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3:21-27, it will be very advantageous to have someone who will be by your side through thick and thin.